Social Functioning and Facial Expression Recognition in Survivors of Pediatric Brain Tumors*

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ObjectiveTo assess social functioning and facial expression recognition skill in survivors of pediatric brain tumors (BT) as compared to children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA).MethodsThe social functioning of 51 survivors of BT and 31 children with JRA was assessed using a facial expression recognition task, questionnaire ratings of social functioning, and an IQ screener.ResultsAfter controlling for estimated IQ, survivors of BT made significantly more errors interpreting adult facial expressions as compared to children with JRA. Additionally, history of therapy and diagnosis age predicted performance on the child portion of the facial recognition task. Finally, survivors of BT demonstrated significantly impaired social functioning across multiple measures when compared to children with JRA.ConclusionsSurvivors of pediatric BT showed significant deficits in social functioning as compared to an illness comparison group. Errors in facial expression recognition represent another method for evaluating deficits that contribute to social outcomes.

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